Homeless man charged with pulling knife on motorist during argument over request for money

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Eric Roberts (via opcso.org)

Eric Roberts (via opcso.org)

A homeless man was jailed last week after pulling a knife on a motorist who argued with him after a request for money, New Orleans police said.

Eric Roberts, 38, approached a driver around 1:30 p.m. last Thursday afternoon (May 22) near the intersection of Simon Bolivar Avenue and Clio Street and asked for money, said Sgt. Daniel Scanlan of the NOPD Sixth District investigative unit. The driver told Roberts to get a job and an argument ensued until the driver got out of the car, at which point Roberts pulled a knife on the driver, Scanlan said.

“The victim could have stayed in his car, but he didn’t,” Scanlan said at the Sixth District’s weekly meeting .

(map via NOPD)

(map via NOPD)

A police cruiser happened to be nearby and the driver flagged the officer down, Scanlan said. Roberts ran into the 1200 block of Simon Bolivar and hid, so police surrounded the block and quickly found him hiding under a house, Scanlan said.

Roberts is jailed on charges of aggravated assault and flight from an officer, jail records show.

Police clearly do not recommend confronting panhandlers, said Sixth District Lt. Frank Young, but they also ask residents “to be selective about their charity” when homeless people along the overpass ask for money. Both the Ozanam Inn and the New Orleans Mission serve the homeless well, and residents can be sure their donations will go toward food, blankets and other essential items, Scanlan agreed.

“If people want to make contributions, the Ozanam Inn and the New Orleans Mission are both great charities in our area,” Young said. “The people standing out there are just as well served by donating to those two charities as by handing them money.”

9 thoughts on “Homeless man charged with pulling knife on motorist during argument over request for money

  1. If Police don’t recommend people confronting panhandlers due their KNOWN PAST of “unpredictable and violent” behavior, why does the City allow the Panhandlers to be at all the major intersections where this chance of “unpredictable and violent” behavior can easily happen?

    Should the City expect all the thousands and thousands of motorists to “all be nice and not say anything back to these panhandlers” day after day?

  2. seriously, we need to stop the shakedown of motorists….not only by the homeless, but by all these other alleged “civic groups”…..this sort of thing does not belong on our streets and highways

    • Nothing says safety like allowing kids to run through traffic at Carrollton/Claiborne during rush hour begging for change to finance their dance team’s trip to Atlanta.

  3. I seriously doubt that a lot of these panhandlers are indeed homeless, esp. around the I-10/Metairie Road intersection. I was once eating on the patio of Mizado and watched one get in his truck with a Mississippi tag on it and drive home. Guy is back on that corner quite often, and has nice new green Nike Air sneakers on under his sweatpants.

  4. I am personally sick of all the beggars in this city, The people that “work” traffic intersections are not homeless. There needs to be something done about it. Just look at the St Charles and Louisiana intersection, there is a beggar on every corner. Most work their way down the street working each major intersection starting at Carrolton and Claibourne for a couple hours. My job is to survey the buses and streetcars and I see things all day while out working. Some nice people hand them food and as soon as person has drove away, it is in the trash.
    I hear them bragging about how much they made that day, makes me sick. Everyday I am asked several times a day while I am out working. People really need to stop giving them anything. Only way to discouraging it. Just say no, don’t say anything else to them.

  5. Those homeless panhandlers at the stop light under the expressway at Simon Bolivar are way too aggressive. I’m not at all surprised to hear that one of them pulled a knife.

    They come up to your car…almost demanding money….Not asking, demanding.

  6. The majority of these people are mentally ill or drug addicts/alcoholics and often both. None of these people are in any need of food as they are VERY well fed and any money given will just go towards more alcohol/drugs. If you feel you MUST give them something then go buy McDonald’s coupons or some other food place coupons and give those to them. However if you keep giving them money they will NEVER leave and you are continuing the cycle of problems. We need long term residential mental health care restored in this country ASAP!

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